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The Canadian Borderland And Racism Essay

934 words - 4 pages

This essay will focus on racial borders within Canadian literature looking at the effects of a border on a member of a minority group. “The border is in fact also the symbol of the exclusionary practice inherent in the discourse of the nation.” Canada is a country made up largely of immigrants and their descendants, an interesting question is, what caused a country, with a diverse population to be so deeply racist?. Two novels which will reflect the experience of a members of immigrant groups in Canada, are The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler and Obasan by Joy Kogawa. The first novel shows the Jewish experience in Canada, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, is a ...view middle of the document...

Canada is a borderland area, it is connected by land to America. Canada is made up of a large number of immigrants. Focusing on the Jewish Canadian minority as well as the Japanese Canadians I will look at the racial prejudices that exist towards immigrants in Canada. While the Jewish diaspora in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is an obvious diaspora, Obasan deals with Japanese Canadian immigrants from the point of view Naomi, a descendant of Japanese Immigrants. Both Obasan and The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz are Canadian novels which show racial prejudice to minority groups.
The Japanese were not anyone’s favourite in North America or Canada to be precise. They were looked down upon in very many instances despite the fact that they were victims of the war too. Nobody cared to know what they were going through. Japanese Canadians were made to feel out of place by the Canadians at the time. From the story, Naomi, Obasan, uncle and Stephen (Naomi’s brother) were forced to leave their homes, move elsewhere, and were sent to concentration camps or returned to Japan. Japanese Canadians were never given back their lands that were taken from them. Naomi’s father dies while Naomi and Steven are with their aunt and uncle. They do not know where their mother is as they haven’t seen her since she went to Japan to care for her mother. We later come to be told that Naomi’s mother was a bombing victim in 1945 and was plagued by maggots before she died. Naomi becomes distraught and dreams more of her mother who had passed on many years ago. The family do not really have a place where they belong, they have been treated badly in Canada yet they feel they identify as Canadian and feel more at home there. Yet the Canadian government tried to send many Japanese...

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